Newly divorced Sarah (Elizabeth Shue) and her teenage daughter Elissa (Lawrence) move to an idyllic new house that’s price has been lowered due to the double murder that happened in the house opposite four years previously. A deranged young girl murdered her parents late at night after an accident left her brain damaged. When the girl’s surviving brother returns home after being sent away by his parents aged 7, the town’s people grow increasingly afraid of the house and its history. Elissa slowly befriends Ryan (Max Thieriot) and learns that the story of his murderous sister might not be what it seems.
Jennifer Lawrence plays Elissa brilliantly and is the kind of horror heroine that more films need. She is the perfect ‘girl nextdoor’ type which is ideal for the film and a refreshing change from the usual casting choice that serves to appease the ‘male gaze’ as if all men are sex obsessed apes who can’t enjoy a film without nudity. Lawrence is fast becoming an audience favourite for her blunt, self deprecating sense of humour and her down to earth nature, and this film is another fine example of her talent and watchability.
The House at the End of the Street is a slow paced horror thriller with a nice twist at the end that is slightly clumsy and perhaps could have been executed better, but it’s different, new and not particularly predictable. The casting is brilliant with a small but well chosen cast who play their parts well. Lawrence and Max Thieriot have a weird chemistry that makes their relationship difficult to believe. We’re meant to buy that they’re falling for each other but it feels very inauthentic and you can never really buy into Elissa’s feelings for Ryan. It’s not for want of good performances because both actors do very well, they just aren’t particularly compatible.
The film attempts a twist at the end which is interesting and surprisingly not predictable. It’s one of those films where you can speculate what might be going on but the likelihood is you’ll be proven wrong. The twist is well hidden but unfortunately it’s clumsily executed and feels like it was sewn roughly together at the last minute. A lot of the explanations feel rushed like the writers were clutching at straws as a last ditch attempt to make the film into something more than it was and the mere fact that the film has to explain itself is an issue for most viewers with a brain.
House at the End of the Street might disappoint those looking for a jump-a-minute horror film or a gore fest as it is neither of the above. It’s a slow paced psychological horror thriller with a decent and relatively unique story, although at times the story does feel rather like a Texas Chainsaw Massacre rip-off with the whole basement thing (any horror literate will know what I’m getting at). This film is worth watching just for Jennifer Lawrence who is a refreshing change on the usual representation of young women in horror; she’s headstrong, ballsy, funny and kicks some serious ass towards the end of the film. A highly entertaining film that’s not your usual horror movie, if you can ignore some of the slight plot issues it is a solid attempt at a psychological horror thriller and it’s definitely and enjoyable one.